2021 Quick Review

This end of year post (single post in the year actually, as it’s been for a couple of years) is costing me more energy to get started than others. Maybe because, like many people, I am pretty much trying to get past 2021 and what the pandemic entailed another year.
Yet, with all the negative that 2021 has had, I am very lucky that this year was still a very interesting and good one for me.

New company

Professionally, 2021 started already very well for me since I had the chance to hire two very good people to grow my team at Kinvolk.
Still, the biggest highlight for my professional life in 2021 was indeed that Kinvolk was acquired by Microsoft, into Azure to be more specific. This not only made me feel very happy and proud that my friends bootstrapped Kinvolk to become a successful company (the acquisition was another sign of that), but also very curious because it meant joining Microsoft.

There are certainly challenges in such a huge company, especially when joining from a multiple times smaller one, but the people I have met, their energy and will, the work itself and the possibilities we’re given, have all been wonderful. Even things like adapting to the shifting work experience by having a hybrid work approach are exactly what I think makes sense for companies to retain and attract talent while keeping productive and competitive.

Therefore, I am very happy to have joined Microsoft/Azure and contribute my share to its mission. If you want to help too, there are plenty of openings in case you’re looking for a new job.

One (point 33) years in Portugal

It’s been over a year since we’ve become residents in Portugal again and we’re very happy that we moved when we did. Last year the country did pretty badly due to the pandemic, until mass vaccination started and virtually all adults got vaccinated since then.
We were lucky that the people from our close family who got infected only got mild symptoms, and that our children had to be only twice in confinement due to close COVID-positive contacts.

Generally, people argue and debate (and sometimes complain about) the government handling of things, but there’s also a general acceptance and following of rules (we have had no riots or violent protests), and that makes me feel much safer than I felt in Berlin.

Our intentions for traveling outside of Portugal were also curbed in 2021. I understand it was possible, but the instability of the traveling rules and the logistics involved in traveling with two kids, plus leaning on being safe, meant our international travel was just a few kilometers beyond the border with southern Spain, to stuff on fried calamari.

I do open source at the job already, so in my free time I apply my engineering skills to complex mechanical constructions, under the supervision of my 4 year old son. The photo shows a monster truck built with cardboard, wooden skews, and paper straws.

Is 2022 the one?

Maybe naively, I am more optimistic about this new year being the one where things really start to improve worldwide than I was for last year, so I hope to be able to travel and see my good friends abroad. Until then, have a great new year!

That year we’ll all remember

So we’ve made it through 2020, a year where everyone’s “wrap-up writings” will likely be more similar than ever.

The Virus

Let’s first address the microscopic elephant in the unventilated rooms. This section requires no introduction, though.
Looking back, going to FOSDEM in the first weekend of Fedruary now seems completely crazy, especially knowing now that the virus was already in Europe then. I wonder how many of us got it with mild symptoms back then, and assumed we were having the infamous “FOSDEM flu”.

I am lucky that the confinement didn’t apparently affect me too much. Prior to Kinvolk, I had been working remotely for several years, so I was already used to the loneliness of this way of working. Besides, in Berlin we were living in a house with a small backyard where the kids could play, so we were lucky in that regard as well.
Of course working with the kids at home is never the same as working alone, and it was not great for the kids to be for such a long time away from their friends. Like everyone, I do have many stories related to the confinement rules, but I will refrain from writing those in this post.

Two Fladenbrot (a Turkish flat brad). They're a bit more flat as expected than normal bread, and have dark and light sesame seeds on top.
I became a world renown baker, as everybody else, during the pandemic. Behold my delicious Fladenbrot.

The return

After our son was born (almost 4 years ago), we started entertaining the idea of moving back to Portugal. There were several reasons for this: our daughter was starting school (which means moving later would be more complicated for her); we grew up with our grandparents around and would like our children to experience the same; a somewhat frustration with Berlin sometimes, and the different look we take at our own country after more than 10 years living abroad.
Of course, Helena’s getting sick last year was also made harder by being away from family, and put things into perspective.
So this summer we actually moved back!

As with all the moves we’ve done (we have lived in 4 european countries), the most difficult thing is leaving our friends. Berlin has been the place where we stayed the longest (after University), and despite any of the love/hate feelings towards Berlin, it will always be a special place for us, and the birth place of our son.

The move was stressful as any international move, with a special extra concern of crossing 3 EU inner borders that had been closed a not long before our departure date.
Leaving an apartment in Berlin is a whole ordeal (of rules, repairs, and sometimes pettiness), and like many other people will tell you about their experience, we did have some problems with the renting company. It all got solved thanks to the tireless help of our great neighbors, so I must give a heartwarm shout out to Ilka, Martin, Fernando, and Stefan/Susie, who are simply the best! I hope 2021 will allow us to travel back there at some point (without it being the unrecommended quest it is at the moment).


A good friend of mine once told me this: all places are the same.
I realize now that it means that when you move to a different place, there are always better things and worse things in comparison, but there is some kind of balance after one adapts (and thus it means all places can feel the same in the end).

Besides the whole country, language, and culture, we’ve also changed to a much smaller city (Lagos) where we have my wife’s family around, and that has many advantages for us as parents. But I can leave more details about this for some dedicated post later in the year.


I continue to proudly work on Kinvolk’s great products, and indeed, I am thankful that Kinvolk is a remote first company.
Where I initially had some concerns regarding working with friends and moving into such different projects from what I had been doing in recent years, those feelings are gone and I just honestly feel very lucky, excited, and proud to be contributing to an amazing company with nice people.

Like most companies this year, Kinvolk also had to adapt its plans, but finished the year very positively. Some highlights from Kinvolk are the new company website, the consolidation of Flatcar as the continuation of CoreOS’s original vision, Headlamp (a new Kubernetes UI project), and the great Volks who joined the company in 2020.


As I wrote last year, I didn’t expect to have any time to devote to tech stuff outside of work and that was certainly true. I even let the GNOME Foundation membership expire during the preparations for the move… But let’s see how the year develops.

Wrap up

I will be cautious with the traditional great expectations for the new year this time, so see you later (in some Zoom call I guess)!

A couple seating on a bench and hugging each other in front of a landscape of great mountains resembling the Alps a bit during summer.
Here’s a picture of an old couple in 2020 enjoying the beautiful views in Hornberg, Germany. Taken during our trip to Portugal.